Tag Archives: diversity


As I entered motherhood, I never realize that “envious, insecure, dictating mommies” are pretty damn annoying. They’re all over you and they give negative comments about your parenting style.

They have all these questions, such as.. Why are you still working? How can you trust your baby to a nanny? Why aren’t you breastfeeding? Why are you using formula brand A, instead of B, I heard that C is the best but it’s also the most expensive. Why are you giving your baby MMR vaccine, it can cause autism. Why aren’t you exercising to make your body return to its normal shape? Why didn’t you enroll your child to a baby class, it’s good for his socialization skills? Why isn’t your baby walking? Why isn’t your baby talking? Why is your baby always crying?

How can you let your child watch TV? Why aren’t you reading him books and buy him educational toys? Why do you take your baby to the mall, instead take him to the zoo, the parks!

I’m a mother to a 2,5 year-old toddler son who talks, sing, and dance together with her child everyday, in-front-of-the-TV. We read books together but only if my son wants to. We go to the mall, almost every weekend and we have visited the zoo perhaps once or twice. I’m a working mom, who left her son at home with our nanny, 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. But I don’t hate stay-at-home moms, nor praise them whatsoever, UNLESS they are insulting other moms who choose to work. My 2,5 year-old toddler son is not going (and never been enrolled) to any school and I still haven’t decide whether he’s going to join a preschool or take music and art courses instead, later, when he’s 3. Or 4, I have no idea, I will have to ask him first.

I don’t have a clear idea of what my parenting skill is, all I know is that everytime I come home at the afternoon, my son told my everything he did with our nanny that day, and he eagerly showed me the new things he had learn. Then we play, and play, and play, and talk, and sing, and sleep, together. He’s a happy child and it’s easier for me to teach him about new things, now that we can have a mom-and-son conversation regularly.

It is also the same case with people at the social network and technology scene. First, we have Friendster, then we move to Facebook, and then Twitter, and we create a Google+ account, and forgetting it, and returned to Twitter. Why is it that people who find themselves enjoying Twitter or G+ ended up insulting Facebook? And what the hell is up with people hating the BlackBerry? If you’re enjoying your iPhone or Android phones/gadgets, why can’t you just enjoy yourself and shut up? Why do you have to insult the innocent BlackBerry (and its users)? Do you think that it will make you look cool?

Talking about living in the land of hate. And they call themselves as the people who are supporting diversity. But at the same time they are giving examples to their children about how to hate other people who choose something else different.

There are things in life that we don’t like, but does it mean we have to insult other people’s choices? We are all the same, we’re all human beings trying to make our dreams come true. And we are reaching towards that dream according to what we think will be good for us, which is -obviously- isn’t always the same compared to others. That’s why we have what I called “autonomy.” The freedom to choose whatever works best for us.

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A Rise Against Ignorance

Now that Abubakar Ba’asyir was sentenced to 15 years in jail, will the act of terrorism and bombings no longer exists in Indonesia? According to some experts, considering the nature of the ‘jihadi virus‘ which is resilient and mutates, we will still see more of attacks, because the virus is passed from friends to friends, families to families. Worse, using religious doctrines and taking advantages of the low-educated society, this virus has found a suitable place to grow.

When it comes to God, religion, and faith, somehow our people are easily indoctrinated without further questioning, because they fear the doubts will make them sinful, for have been disbelieving God’s rules. It is sinful to be critical.

But if the ‘jihadi virus’ can be passed easily, why can’t the virus of ‘peace, tolerance, and respect‘ also spreads to our society, dominating their beliefs and take over the violent ones?

Why did my 6 year-old nephew once asks, “Auntie, the woman hosting this TV show is a Christian. She shouldn’t be allowed to live in Indonesia.” I delivered this question to his parents and they easily replied, “He went to this Islam kindergarten, and perhaps his teacher taught him about other religion. It’s not a big deal.”

Not a big deal?

Living in big cities cause depression for some people. Hatred is something that can easily be injected to young generations, who are having peer pressures and struggling with their own identity. And in small villages, without access to adequate information, the condition is worse. No one dare to have any questions about their faith, no one have the courage to be critical, and this fear is transferred from parents to their children, grandchildren, and so on. Some of them even have the motto of “In Islam boarding schools we trust,” or “In mystical practitioner (a.k.a Dukun) we trust!

So basically I agree with the plan to NOT only fight against terrorism, but also to prevent the virus from spreading to our young generations at the first place. And when we speak about the young people, we are talking about low-educated parents who are already ‘infected‘ by an even dangerous virus of ignorance.

We still have a complicated homework to finish.

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Blame It On The “Religion”

In a country where poverty, unemployment, and traffic jam have become common issues, Indonesia is also known as one of the world’s most populous and religious country.

What does this mean?

In my simple words, it means that we, Indonesians, believe in God. We use religion as guidance on how to live this life. But in my skeptic words, it means that you keep a religion just to be safe from hell. Now, which are you? Those who keep religion because you need it, or those who are afraid of the punishment?

I read this morning in some blogs, that in order to create a “noble” and successful generation, parents must stress the importance of religion to their children. According to the writer, our lack of morality was caused by parents who have neglected and forgot to stress the importance of religion to their children.

I don’t blame him, or parents, or whoever-you-are to have believed this “religious” strategy, but I’m not perfectly sure of the result either. If you use religion and its fear-of-punishment strategy to protect your child against modernization devils such as teen pregnancy, pornography, homosexuality, and even criminality, you should be prepare for unexpected results. Why? Because it eliminates the “common sense” factor of human biology, media influence, and the increasing accessibility of modern information technology.

Moral issues isn’t something that can only be taught through religion, although religion does teach us about morality. But what about the universal law of “do unto others as you would have them do to you?” To me, it is pretty clear that you are not allowed to steal anything from anyone, not because religion forbids you, not because you’re going to be fried in hell, but because you are causing pain and discomfort to other people!

That is why I prefer basic moralities concepts first and religion later, as a strategy to guide anyone to be kind, polite, and, properly behaved according to the society. I also think that it is better for children to learn about religion at later stages of their life instead of being bombarded by doctrines since the very beginning of their life. I don’t disagree with religious parents, but if you don’t give your child adequate reasons which was based on the universal law of kindness, be prepared if one day fear itself will not stop them from being and a**hole loser (or a bomber, your choice).

Without a proper and sufficient understanding about basic moralities, anyone could possibly get lost in religious doctrines. This theory has recently got its support with the outbreak of NII and their brain-wash strategy. It’s amazing how religion and its fear-of-punishment could do to someone, isn’t it? It haunts them and took over their common sense, making them believe that killing in the name of God, and hating someone else for having different religions, is acceptable.

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Bhinneka Tunggal Ika: The Forgotten Legacy

Bhinneka Tunggal Ika is our country’s rule in accepting differences. If anyone asked us the meaning of it, there’s no doubt we can give a prompt and correct answer. But when the question continues to “Have you implement the principals of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika in your everyday lives?” some of us will need time to think. We know the meaning of it, but we’re still uncertain on whether we or other members of the society have implemented it, or rejected it instead.

With so many violence and disintegration dominating the local and international news lately, it seems as if the strength of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika no longer influenced and protected us from fear of being different. From the most extreme religious organizations to our-very-own-selves as the smallest member of society, we have undoubtedly forgotten the importance of staying united.

It’s sad, but it’s a fact, that one of our oldest cultural legacy about the principal of heterogeneity and accepting diversity, has lost its power to unite this colorful country as one.

Often beyond our conscience, we are rejecting differences in order to be aligned with mainstream society and their opinion. When the majority is allowing (or supporting this hatred for diversity), after a certain time everyone will see it as normal, thus create a new culture: self-superiority and pressure for the minority.

I have a friend who feared the influence of different race, as an example. She believed that going to the same school with kids from different race will have a negative impact towards her son.

How can we teach our children and embrace the concept of diversity if we don’t let them ‘touch’ and acquainted different race, religion and ethnicity in the first place?

Another sad example of race discrimination happened to my friend who was applying for a job, and got rejected by the employer because he doesn’t have a certain race and ethnicity. It’s already hard enough for us to find jobs these days, and yet there are still many companies who only accept their own race as employees.

Racial discrimination is not the only problem this country is facing. On a bigger scale, religion continuously used as the reason behind violence and stupid actions. I have a 5 year-old niece who went to this expensive Islamic School asked me “Auntie, is it true that if we were not a Muslim, we will go to hell?” He heard it from friends, and they got it from their parents.

More and more educational institutions are using religion as their identity and marketing strategy and as an answer for high demands from parents who felt it is safer to enroll their children to religious-based schools. Of course there are also big problems such as the discrimination against Ahmadiyah, or the (somehow funny and) confusing statements from MUI (Indonesian Council of Ulema) chairman regarding our national anthem and salutation of the red-white flag.

The recent case is FPI’s statements towards underground music (and musicians), which creates another fear for our youth to have their freedom of expression protected. The way I see it, underground scene has never did any act of violence. And if some people saw it as the music of satan, I personally think that sinetrons and mystical tv shows are barbaric.

But if I want people to respect my choice, then I must learn to respect theirs.

Let’s forget all those major heartbreaking issues for a while, and try to have a look at our own beliefs and respond towards diversity. In the end, every people will have their own definition of good and bad, and like it or not, we must respect their decision. If most of the people said that we have to defend what we believe, than perhaps we must counter the cultural beliefs.

These are bitter truths about the culture of Indonesia. But we live in a country which will always be diversified. We can’t blame anyone for any discrimination if we are keep doing it towards others. As a start, I need to stop discriminating parents who adore religious schools, and I need to accept the fact that most people just couldn’t live without sinetrons.

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(As posted on my “JabberGibber – IMO Blog” post)

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